Pets Accelerating Literacy - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Pets Accelerating Literacy

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WSVN -- Whether it's a story about pandas or making honey, students at A.D. Henderson University School in Boca Raton love to read out loud to their pals.

It's all part of the Pets Accelerating Literacy Skills Program, starring therapy dogs of South Florida Charlie and Harris.

The concept is new and simple: Kids read to the dogs and the dogs listen without comment or critique.

Mary Linville: "It's an instant motivator for them and no one's there, no one's correcting it. If they make a mistake it's OK and they just have fun with it."

This is the second year for the pals program at Henderson, and it's a tail-wagging hit.

Kayla Keating: "If you mess up you can't get embarrassed because they can't really say anything mean to you."

And it's that kind of total acceptance that helps young readers gain confidence in their abilities and build self esteem.

Dakota Bagen: "Sometimes they put my paw, their paw on me like my dog does that when she's listening."

Listening and giving kids a chance to practice out loud to improve reading fluency. Tom Decicco brings Charley and Harris here once a week.

Tom DeCicco: "I do see a difference. Each week we're here every Wednesday morning and we have the 46 students and each week you can see the children advance to the next level."

The dogs benefit too with a little down time and a lot of love from all of their new friends. It's a win-win for all.

Mary Linville: "By practicing and giving them a reason to practice over and over again they learn all those new words, they comprehend better and it truly makes a difference."

Lynn Martinez: "And here's a bonus, for kids who don't have pets at home, the program also teaches them about dog care and behavior."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Therapy Dogs of South Floridawww.TherapyDogsOfSouthFlorida.org

Children Reading to Dogshttp://early-childhood-development.suite101.com/article.cfm/reading_to_dogs

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